As I write this, I have a warm, sleeping baby pressed to my chest. Her head is rested gently to the side and her eyes are flickering as she lets herself fall into a slumbering dream land. I could stay like this forever, with my baby against me and the rhythm of her breathing pressing into my heart. I could listen to her noises forever. I could hold this weight forever.
My son’s entrance into this word is the very reason why this blog exists and also the reason why babywearing is so very important to me. I hadn’t done it with his older sister. Oh, we had plenty of skin to skin contact and she was exclusively breastfed for seven months… but she missed out on this one. I had never considered babywearing until my sister in law told me she wanted to buy me a sling for the new baby. Her own children had been born early, her youngest at 30 weeks and she researched the importance of babywearing and Kangaroo care. Her generosity perhaps helped to save my son and I.
After his birth, I was plunged into a pit of despair. Until you’re having trouble accepting that the screeching baby they’re handing to you is actually yours, I’m not sure I will ever be able to describe that feeling to you. And he kept on screaming, distraught at life and frustrated with pain. When he was three days old, I picked up the sling.
I didn’t really know what to do with it, so I put it back again and carried on without it. A week passed. Christmas Eve rolled around and I reached a bit of a breaking point. My health visitor came to see me and I broke down in tears at the mere mention of his birth. oh my goodness, I was not ok. I was a mess. I was carrying a solid ball of steel in my stomach and I was not coping with this bundle of anger in my arms. Again, I picked up the sling.
My son was twelve days old on Christmas day and we spent much of that day babywearing. The transformation was not instant, but he did sleep. Being in the sling helped to keep him upright and more comfortable. Being the in the sling helped to keep him near me (and although I resented this at first, I now realise how important that was). Being in the sling allowed me to look at him. I mean, really look at him.
He stayed in the sling until he was nearly 18 months. On my chest at first, and then on my hip. We went everywhere together as we learned how to be together. And yes, I think that babywearing helped to save my son and I.
There are many reports on the benefits of babywearing and the internet is full of stories, statistics, facts and persuasions. It may not be right for everyone, but I know it is right for me. My son and I bonded, just as my daughter and I are now bonding.